DHS Publishes Clarifications to Medicaid Telehealth Policy

August 25, 2017

On August 21, the Wisconsin Department of Health Services (DHS) released ForwardHealth Update No. 2017-25 announcing clarifications to ForwardHealth policy for Medicaid reimbursable services provided via telehealth. One key clarification was the inclusion of emergency departments as permitted originating sites for telemedicine.

In March, WHA submitted comments on draft recommendations for inclusion in the ForwardHealth Update released this week. (See March 31 Valued Voice article.)

Other changes to the previous ForwardHealth policy included in the August Update include the addition of audiologists as allowable telemedicine providers. The Update also adopts for Medicaid claims the January 2017 CMS requirement that all Medicare claims for telemedicine include place of service (POS) code 02. Beginning September 1, applicable Medicaid claims for telemedicine service must also include POS code 02.

DHS is characterizing the policy changes as clarifications of existing policy, but the Update notes DHS is also pursuing additional policy changes to expand access to telemedicine services under the Medicaid program.

On August 2, WHA’s Telemedicine Work Group was joined by staff from DHS’s Medicaid Telehealth Policy Team to discuss and provide input on potential future Medicaid telemedicine policy. During that meeting, WHA members recommended to DHS that it specifically consider expansion of reimbursable telemedicine services to encourage the use of telemedicine to facilitate chronic care management and care coordination, behavioral health services, and care provided in long term care settings. (See August 4 Valued Voice article.)

For additional information about the Update, contact Matthew Stanford, WHA general counsel, at mstanford@wha.org or 608-274-1820.

This story originally appeared in the August 25, 2017 edition of WHA Newsletter